The first Franklin Special School District Board of Education meeting of the year was one of appreciation, as several community members, including the late Pearl Bransford, the NOOK team and the board itself, were highlighted for the work they do on Monday.
The meeting began with a drop in from Franklin Mayor Ken Moore, who read a proclamation deeming Jan. 24-30 School Board Appreciation Week in the city, thanking the school board and FSSD Director of Schools David Snowden for their service to the community.
The proclamation, in part, stated that “school board members represent a tremendous resource as local decision-makers that diligently work to overcome the challenges of a changing world while providing students with the services and opportunities needed for a quality education.”
Remembering Pearl Bransford
Board Chairman Robert Blair and member Tim Stillings also honored the memory of Pearl Bransford, who died on Nov. 27. Bransford formerly served on the FSSD school board and, more recently, on the Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
Stillings shared he will remember Bransford as he first met her, sitting on the gymnasium floor at Liberty Elementary School, playing ball with children. He said she passed along some advice to him as he started his tenure on the board that has always stuck with him.
“That is, ‘When you’re thinking about anything within the district that you’re voting on, two criteria and only two should be considered: is it in the best interest of that child or of children in general, and can the district afford it,'” he said.
Blair, who took Bransford’s seat on the board in 2003, said she was a personal friend of his.
“Our community and the board owes a debt of gratitude for her input and her influence with the school district and the community, so thank you, Pearl,” Blair said.
Service amid continuing pandemic
The board also thanked Sara Holt, executive director of Needs of Our Kids (NOOK), for her work in supporting the families within FSSD and other area schools. NOOK is a nonprofit dedicated to providing necessary resources to students in need and their families.
Holt said due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this school year has been particularly busy. The organization has increased its number of volunteers and has so far distributed 34 coats, 31 sweatshirts, 220 pairs of pants, 231 shirts, 1,918 pairs of socks, 69 pairs of shoes, 904 pairs of underwear, 25 food boxes, 27 fuel cards and 501 boxes of feminine hygiene products, in addition to consistently fulfilling other needs, to those in need, in partnership with One Generation Away.
“We’ve supplied 18 deliveries to the Path Project at Franklin Estates. We have a volunteer every Tuesday that takes fresh food that is rescued by One Gen Away and delivers that to that program so kids get to take home fresh fruits and vegetables once a week,” Holt said. “We supply other hygiene items — toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, things like that — on an as-needed basis when counselors and nurses request those. And we’ve also done nine OneSight referrals, and OneSight is the nonprofit that we utilize … for children that need eyeglasses and are either uninsured or underinsured.”
Other school business
Later in the meeting, Snowden addressed COVID-19 in the schools, repeating the district’s goal to keep campuses open. He said depending on the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine and the county’s progression through the state vaccine plan, teachers are expected to receive their vaccines under phase 1b around March.
“That’s a little disappointing that [the vaccines] are just not coming in large enough numbers to do 1a and then 1b,” Snowden said. “For our teachers, it looks like it’s going to be a little bit of a wait.”
The board also discussed the 2021-2022 school year calendar, which for the first time in known history will not differ at all from the Williamson County Schools calendar. In recent years, the calendar has included a difference of four to eight days.
For more information about FSSD, visit FSSD.org. The board will meet for its next meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 8.